More worrisome than injuries or ill health was Pitt's continuing struggle to rack up points—it has an average of 22.0 per game as compared with 32.1 last season. "One thing we have to learn is the importance of getting first-down distance after completing passes," Quarterback Dan Marino said. "Receivers spent too much time zigzagging, looking for the long breakaway instead of going for first-down yardage." Marino, who hit on 24 of 38 throws for 227 yards, equaled an NCAA record by passing for a touchdown in his 18th straight game. That came on a two-yard toss to Julius Dawkins in the opening period. The Orangemen had an apparent tying TD—on a 54-yard run by Tailback Jaime Covington—nullified by a holding penalty in the second quarter. Pitt didn't score again until the closing period, three other drives having ended when Syracuse picked off Marino passes. Once again the Panther defense was better than its offense, limiting the Orange to 140 yards in total offense for the afternoon.
"The one thing that disappoints me is...the feeling of revenge that a lot of people are trying to make out of it. It's just not there.... I'm just going out there to have a good time and play some football against a lot of buddies." That was the essence of a statement that West Virginia Quarterback Jeff Hostetler issued through the school's sports-information office before last week's showdown against Penn State. Hostetler, a former Nittany Lion quarterback who transferred to the Mountaineers, didn't exactly have a terrific time against his old buddies. It didn't help that he went into the game with a badly injured left big toe, or that he hurt his left knee in the first quarter, or that he had two of his passes intercepted, or that he fumbled the ball away once. Thus, despite Hosteller's connecting on 19 of 37 attempts for 250 yards, the Mountaineers came up on the short end of a 24-0 score. A crowd of 60,958, the largest ever to attend a sporting event in West Virginia, saw the Mountaineers outgain the Nittany Lions 382-343 in total offense. Mountaineer rooters could only wish that Penn State's Curt Warner, who was born and reared in West Virginia, still played there. Warner, who gained 82 yards on 13 carries, spearheaded a Nittany Lion ground attack that gained 225 yards. Penn State, which led 10-0 at the half, tucked the game away when Linebacker Scott Radecic returned an interception 85 yards for a fourth-period TD.
Army led visiting Boston College 14-12 after two quarters, but lost 32-17. Doug Flutie of the Eagles atoned for a poor first half—three completions in 11 tries for 36 yards—with a strong second-half performance in which he connected on eight of 15 for 137 yards, including scoring passes of 40 and 23 yards to Split End Paul Zdanek. Unlike Army, Navy made its halftime advantage—21-3—stand up. But the Midshipmen, who defeated The Citadel 28-3, lost Quarterback Marco Pagnanelli, who suffered a broken leg. Colgate was toppled from the unbeaten ranks, losing 34-17 at Rutgers.
Penn, gunning for its first Ivy championship since 1959, remained alone at the top of the league by knocking off Yale 27-14. Quaker fans were so ecstatic about their team's first triumph over the Elis since 1972 that the Penn players had to return to the Franklin Field gridiron to acknowledge their postgame cheers. Second-place Harvard was a 27-15 victor at Princeton. Cornell's quest for its initial victory was foiled when a two-point conversion attempt failed during the closing seconds against visiting Dartmouth, which won 14-13. Brown was beaten 17-6 by Holy Cross and Columbia lost 42-25 to Bucknell.
"I don't know if I've ever seen a player have a game quite like he had," Washington Coach Don James said of Gabriel Rivera, a defensive tackle for Texas Tech. Rivera, a 6'3", 280-pound senior, hounded the Huskies all day and was the main reason they had only 268 yards in total offense as compared with their season average of 415.4. The Red Raiders broke up a scoreless struggle when Ricky Gann drilled a 39-yard field goal with 13:19 to go. Jacque Robinson, who ran 35 times for 203 yards, enabled Washington to pull out a 10-3 win by gaining 104 yards in the final period. It was a 19-yard burst by Robinson that finally put the Huskies ahead 7-3. A 29-yard field goal by Chuck Nelson wrapped up the scoring.
During a week in which there wasn't a single major upset, the biggest surprise was that Notre Dame needed a 35-yard field goal from Mike Johnston with 11 seconds left to salvage a 13-13 stalemate with winless Oregon. The Irish, who had held five previous foes to an average of 42 yards rushing, the best figure in the land, gave up 111 yards on the ground. The Ducks had gone in front 13-10 with 10:27 remaining, when Terrance Jones banged over from one yard out. Arizona, which had stunned the Irish 16-13 the week before, walloped Pacific 55-7.
California appeared to be out of it when Quarterback Gale Gilbert went down with a knee injury in the second quarter against visiting UCLA, which led at that point 31-14. But J Torchio rallied the Golden Bears to a 31-31 tie after three periods. As good as Torchio was—he hit on 14 of 25 passes for 197 yards—he couldn't stop the Bruins from scoring 16 points in the final period to pull out a 47-31 Pac-10 triumph. UCLA set a team record by passing for 397 yards, 322 by Tom Ramsey, who found his receivers with 17 of 23 throws.
It was more than 100° on the playing field when Oregon State took on Southern Cal at L.A.'s Memorial Coliseum. The heat didn't bother the Trojans, who ran for 267 yards and passed for 222 while romping 38-0. Although John Elway completed only 10 of 26 passes for 85 yards, Stanford beat Washington State 31-26. Cardinal Mike Dotterer scored three TDs, the last with 22 seconds left.
New Mexico (6-1) set a school rushing record by gaining 585 yards while drubbing New Mexico State 66-14. Leading the way was Mike Carter, who gained 174 yards.